I think I have Paul Krause’s car.
I bought my 2008 silver Chrysler Sebring convertible at a CarMax just outside Chicago two years ago and during the final phases of the transaction I saw that the previous owner was a gentleman named Paul Krause and the car had come from a CarMax in the Twin Cities area.
Who the hell would buy a convertible in Minnesota? Certainly it must be someone brave, iconoclastic, edgy, bold and well practiced at boat rocking. Certainly it must be former Vikings All-Pro safety and 1998 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Paul Krause.
I like Paul Krause’s car.
Krause was drafted by the Washington Redskins out of the University of Iowa in 1964 and led the league with 12 interceptions, setting the stage for a career that would see him accumulate 81 career picks, an NFL record that still stands.
Krause played for the ‘Skins until 1967 and then was traded to the Vikings where he continued his All-Pro thievery and helped lead the Vikes to their first Super Bowl after the 1969 season. The Vikings lost that game, Super Bowl IV, to the Kansas City Chiefs (A Chiefs-Vikings Super Bowl? It was the Age of Aquarius) and Krause also helped lead the Purple People Eaters to three more Super Bowls in the 1970s. They lost all those, too, thus breaking the hearts of a generation of Vikings fans while inspiring a later generation of Buffalo Bills fans.
Paul Krause’s car doesn’t get very good gas mileage and now the driver’s side door sticks but that’s probably my fault. Don’t blame old number 22.
Krause stood 6-3 and weighed 200 pounds and used to roam centerfield for the Redskins and Vikings plucking footballs out of the sky with a finesse and vengeance rarely seen. Krause was part eagle, part leopard and all about the business of making quarterbacks wish they had stayed home that day.
Paul Krause frightened vegetarians and was studied by the CIA.
In addition to picking off passes, healing lepers, losing Super Bowls and buying cool Chryslers, Krause also played in what might have been the most fun NFL game ever. It was a 1977 playoff contest in which the Vikings beat the Rams, 14-7, in Los Angeles in what became known as “The Mud Bowl.” Have you ever seen “Monty Python’s” re-enactment of the Battle of Pearl Harbor? It was like that. Paul Krause intercepted Pat Haden in that game and then was offered a lead role in “Heaven Can Wait.” He turned it down.
If there’s another person in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area named Paul Krause who used to own a 2008 silver Chrysler Sebring convertible I don’t want to know about them. I’m convinced my car belonged to the true Paul Krause and can sometimes feel his presence as I glide through traffic, smoking a cigarette and honking at those going 55 in the pass lane. You might not respect me, fellow driver, but for the love of Carl Eller, please pay proper homage to the former car of Paul Krause, damn it.
What did Paul Krause do in my car? Did he talk to Matt Blair on his cellphone? Did he sip a milkshake and say that some trucker drives like Greg Landry? I imagine Paul Krause with the top down even in a blizzard laughing at nature’s wrath while wearing mirrored sunglasses and tossing $100 bills to children and baby gophers.
Another of my all-time favorite football games came about a month after I bought the former car of Paul Krause. It was in December 2010 when the Chicago Bears visited the Vikings but the game could not be played in the Metrodome because the roof collapsed under the weight of snow. So they instead played their Monday Night showdown outside at the University of Minnesota’s stadium with snow falling, breath freezing and the Bears romping, 40-14. This was the last game Brett Favre ever played as he succumbed to a sack from Corey Wootton in the second quarter. At halftime, legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant was honored and the 83-year-old tough guy didn’t even wear a jacket as he was hoisted onto the shoulders of former Vikings greats. It was Vikings football outside in the cold. It was perfect.
The Bears play the Vikings this Sunday in Minnesota with both teams fighting for a playoff spot and the game, unfortunately, will be inside. Outside there could be cold, snow and Armageddon but inside it will be convertible weather. I would gladly let Paul Krause borrow his old car if he wants to drive to the 50-yard line and say “This is not football. Everybody outside. Now.”
People would listen. He picks off passes and drives cool cars. He’s Paul Krause.